Volunteer With Elephants In Namibia (2013)
Travel deep into tribal wilderness and help make peace between two conflicting communities - mankind and elephants! Living a nomad lifestyle, you’ll travel around Damaraland - the traditional name for the north-western Namib Desert - tracking elephants and helping farmers protect their water supplies but also live in harmony with these incredible animals. Regularly shifting camps will see you sleep sometimes under the stars, sometimes in a tent, sometimes with a shower and sometimes without. What you’ll always have however is a heap of hard work - and an unforgettable experience.
For this project you work in two-week rotations. Volunteers will spend the first week at a remote desert camp, building walls made from local stone and cement around vitally important water sources for Damaraland homesteads. To cheat the heat, you’ll wake up early for your first cup of coffee around the camp fire. After the team member on duty has served breakfast, you’ll head out to your project site for the day. Activities will include: building a wall around a local farmer’s windmill; doing work on the base camp; or helping community members build a tourist camp or fix a rural school. Each volunteer group’s projects will be dependent on where the greatest need is at that time. Then you head to your camp for lunch and a siesta. You could be tasked with updating data forms, or be on kitchen and camp duty for the day. Evenings are spent around the camp fire eating and talking about the day’s events. After a few days of hot and tiring work, the weekend is spent relaxing at base camp in the Ugab River. The next week is spent on patrol – you’ll pack some basic camping gear in the 4x4 and set off looking for the elusive elephants. On patrol, you camp wild and sleep under the stars. You’ll follow elephants on foot, sometimes for hours under the desert sun, and sit patiently observing from some rocky outcrop while they laze away in the shade! In general, the project is split so that in a two-week period you would do one week of building/community work, and one week of elephant patrol. However, volunteers will be working where they are most needed, so be aware that you should be flexible as this schedule is subject to change.
Accommodation varies each week. On the building week we set up our mobile base camp at each project site, which we try and make as comfortable as possible! You will be accommodated in two man tents or you can choose to sleep under the stars. Washing facilities are limited. Toilet facilities will be in the form of long drops (enclosed and private). When at camp, life is more comfortable with showers, a sleeping platform and a toilet. Whilst on patrol, we camp wild, and sleep under the stars on our bedrolls with mosquito nets. No showers or toilets - so roughing it.
Villa Wiese in Swakopmund, we leave from here at 12.00 on the Monday of the start date. However volunteers need to arrive in Swakopmund on the Sunday as we have a short briefing at the guest house that evening. Please note all accommodation before and after project dates is at your own cost.
11 nights All projects run from the Monday morning on the starting date, to the Friday afternoon of the finish date. Participants can book a minimum of one two-week slot, or multiple slots, up to three months (six slots) maximum.
All food, transfers and accommodation whilst on the project All camping equipment including mattress excluding sleeping bags Training in elephant behaviour 24 hour in country support
International flights Medical and travel insurance Transport to pick-up point in Swakopmund Accommodation and food while in Swakopmund Personal kit Spending money Visa expenses.
With regards to flights, there are 2 options for airports, firstly Windhoek International. This is a 4 hour transfer away, which is fairly cheap safe and reliable, EHRA will make this booking for all volunteers, they will be collected at the airport and dropped at the guesthouse in Swakopmund. Volunteers taking this option need to land in time to meet the transfer service which is a scheduled departure. At the latest volunteers need to arrive in Windhoek by 12.00 on the Sunday to meet the connections. If flying in to Walvis Bay they should also arrive on the Sunday at the latest, again EHRA will arrange the transfer, but its just a 30 minute journey from Swakopmund. Flights to Windhoek tend to be cheaper but its worth checking Walvis Bay.